Tents For Camping: A Guide For Buying And Pitching.
Choosing appropriate tents for camping or hiking is the important first step to providing a great outdoors experience. There are several things to factor in when choosing a tent for camping.
Are you a family? Do you need separate rooms? How important is speed and ease when setting up your tent? Do you have a certain weight/size restriction in your pack? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself.
An overnight trip to the hillside or mountains is fun, but can be very unpleasant if you are unequipped. It’s important you are set up correctly with the right tent. It will ensure a memorable experience from your next camping or hiking trip.
Some people will go on their first camping trip and unfortunately will never go camping again. All it takes is one bad experience where they have not been sufficiently equipped. Or they did not understand the best way to use their equipment that they have.
So What are The Best Tents for Camping? How to Decide
When it comes to buying the ideal tent for camping, there are numerous options the market has to offer. It can be quite overwhelming! Knowing which outdoor tent to look for and what attributes are of most importance to your particular situation. However, to make your purchase easier, here are a few questions you should ask:
1. How many people will it need to fit?
Tents are usually categorised and often named by the number of persons who can utilise the available space. The options are huge;
- From a small tent perfect for solo adventuring.
- To two person/ three person tents, excellent for partners.
- To large family tents that can accommodate from four to seven or more people.
Consider the number of people who will spend the night in a tent. Be sure to pay attention to the floor square-footage. Is it going to be large enough for you and your fellow campers? You also need to take into consideration how much camping gear you have. Will it need to stored out of the elements? Does the tent have a tent annex that you can close up to store your gear? If not then it will need to be stored in the main tent section. Thus taking up sleeping room. A three person tent is a great option if you are a single camper. It is not that much heavier that a 2 person tent, but can give you some more space to move inside.
2. What will your tent be used for?
On a similar vein as the number of inhabitants, is the main reason for buying the tent. If you’ll be backpacking more often, you’ll want a small, lightweight tent to save you the ounces on your pack. If your trip will be more of car camping then weight is not much of an issue. You can pick a tent that will give you more room above your head and on the floor. A three person tent just fits in the two extremes, whereas a four person tent and up are only really suitable for car camping.
3. What’s your Budget for your Tent?
When it comes time to purchase one of the many available tents for camping or hiking, you can spend from as little as $50 up to many hundreds of dollars. Certain elements will determine price, like the speed at which you want your tent set up. Some tents literally set themselves up in seconds, but command a higher price for doing so, while others use old fashioned effort. Other things that can determine price is the quality of the material, the zips, and the material the poles are made from. You are best advised not the cut corners buying a tent. There are lots of cheap tents for sale, but basically you get what you pay for. I have previously bought a cheap three person tent only to be up one night in the heavy rain repairing broken tent poles! Not a nice experience! You should look at only getting quality aluminium poles. Or at a bare minimum, good quality, thicker diameter glass fibre poles can also be considered. Cheap thin poles will just break at the first storm encounter. The tent fabric should be of good quality, sealed for rain protection, and the seals should be taped and silicon coated. You can opt for the heavier canvas type, or a more popular version is a lighter nylon type.
The following two person tent is an one example of many high quality tents for camping and hiking. It’s lightweight, features a waterproof nylon tent fabric and waterproof seams, is easy to set up and it comes with Aluminium poles and pegs. It’s perfect for couples that love camping or hiking.
4. Pitching Your Tent – Basics you should know.
When it comes to pitching a tent, you need to select the right spot for pitching. It’s all about getting the right location. Choosing a perfect place is the starting point to having a great night’s sleep. It can also prevent damage to your tent. After all, a camping expedition is all about peace of mind.
Prior to setting camp, take a few minutes to scout the area to get the right spot. When checking for any trees that you may want to camp under, determine if they are affected by damp rot or termites. If they are then this can be a serious safety hazard if a branch decides to drop off! A quick 2 minute look at a tree can determine that. A good sign that it may be affected, is if the tree has moss growing on the tree trunk and branches. Another good sign is if it does not have leaves anymore.
Considering the levelness of the ground is also important. It will make for a good night sleep if you are not rolling down the inside of your tent all night. Since flat ground is not available everywhere, you may have to settle for a slightly sloping ground. Water run-off on the land should also not be overlooked. You should always aim for higher ground, so if it does rain, you are not laying in a pool of water that has collected underneath your tent. You should also avoid camping in dry creek beds, as flash flooding may occur in some areas. Also pay attention to camping alongside or on the side of mountains as landslides could occur in a storm or heavy rain. Another handy tip is to try and locate your tent alongside a set of trees that can be used to tie off a tarpaulin, without the need for poles. This will provide a comfortable place to sit and prepare meals with overhead protection from the elements.
5. Is convenience your priority when camping?
If you’re a camper who likes being in close proximity to facilities and amenities for comfort, then you should look for a pitching spot that’s adjacent to them. For instance, if you’ll need to frequent the food stores and loos, then you should select a spot close by. One down side to this though is the increase in foot traffic around your tent at peak times of the day. Sometimes it can start very early in the morning when everyone is rushing to get to the toilet. If you must camp near a toilet block or playground etc, then a handy tip is to make sure you attach all your guy ropes to your tent, and peg them out, which will increase the overall footprint size of your camp. You could also position your car in a strategic place so people cannot walk directly next to your tent.
6. Tent Pitching ground preparation.
It is very important that the ground area you decide to pitch your tent on is clear from small rocks and branches. This may cause damage to your tent floor, and makes for a very unpleasant sleep. A great tip that will extent the life of your tent, is you should also lay a small tarpaulin down first to protect your tent floor. Ensure that the tarpaulin is smaller in area than your tent floor, otherwise it will collect water, which will run under your tent if it rains.
7. Positioning your Tent with the Sun.
If you prefer to wake up in your own time, instead of the blazing morning sun waking you up, then it’s a good idea to know the direction of the sun. Try to go for a shaded location that will give you good sun protection when you need it most.
Buying a tent does not need to be stressful experience. As long as you know what you are looking for when you are buying. As you will find, there are many different tents for camping and hiking, but be aware, there are also many cheap tents for sale. They simply do not last and you often end up replacing them later. Whether its a small tent you’re looking at or one of the many large tents that are available, your tent purchase will ultimately be a personal preference. Take some time to choose the one that suits your needs. It will be one of the most important items in your camping kit.
Perfect tent pitching only comes with practice, patience and common sense. One thing we learned when camping as a family was to start educating our kids early. Give them the opportunity to pitch their own tent. They will get great satisfaction (after a little frustration) from doing this. They will get more proficient at successful tent pitching the more they do it. It will also make your life a lot easier, giving you more time to finish setting up your camp. There’s nothing worse than going on a nice camping trip to escape the worries of everyday life, and stress out over the set-up process!
Hopefully you have found this article about tents for camping helpful. Use some of these tips and hopefully it will make your next (or your first) camping trip a great one!